[ kuh n-dish-uh-ning ]
/ kənˈdɪʃ ə nɪŋ /

noun Psychology.

Also called operant conditioning, instrumental conditioning. a process of changing behavior by rewarding or punishing a subject each time an action is performed until the subject associates the action with pleasure or distress.
Also called classical conditioning, Pavlovian conditioning, respondent conditioning. a process in which a stimulus that was previously neutral, as the sound of a bell, comes to evoke a particular response, as salivation, by being repeatedly paired with another stimulus that normally evokes the response, as the taste of food.

Nearby words

  1. conditioned,
  2. conditioned response,
  3. conditioned stimulus,
  4. conditioned suppression,
  5. conditioner,
  6. condo,
  7. condole,
  8. condolence,
  9. condolences,
  10. condolent

Origin of conditioning

First recorded in 1915–20; condition + -ing1

Related formsself-con·di·tion·ing, adjective


[ kuh n-dish-uh n ]
/ kənˈdɪʃ ən /


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to make conditions.

Origin of condition

1275–1325; Middle English condicioun < Anglo-French; Old French < Latin condiciōn- (stem of condiciō) agreement, equivalent to con- con- + dic- say (see dictate) + -iōn- -ion; spelling with t by influence of Late Latin or Medieval Latin forms; compare French condition

SYNONYMS FOR condition
1. See state. 8. requirement, proviso.

Related formscon·di·tion·a·ble, adjectiveun·con·di·tion, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for conditioning

British Dictionary definitions for conditioning


/ (kənˈdɪʃənɪŋ) /


psychol the learning process by which the behaviour of an organism becomes dependent on an event occurring in its environmentSee also classical conditioning, instrumental learning


(of a shampoo, cosmetic, etc) intended to improve the condition of somethinga conditioning rinse


/ (kənˈdɪʃən) /


verb (mainly tr)

Word Origin for condition

C14: from Latin conditiō, from condīcere to discuss, agree together, from con- together + dīcere to say

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for conditioning
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for conditioning


[ kən-dĭshə-nĭng ]


A process of behavior modification by which a subject comes to associate a desired behavior with a previously unrelated stimulus.


[ kən-dĭshən ]


A disease or physical ailment.
A state of health or physical fitness.


To cause an organism to respond in a specific manner to a conditioned stimulus in the absence of an unconditioned stimulus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for conditioning


[ kən-dĭshə-nĭng ]

See classical conditioning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with conditioning


see in condition; mint condition; on condition that; out of condition.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.